Meeting the world with brushes ...

Monday 5 December 2016 – Interview

We asked the same question to all the artists of Ink Link: tell us an story that happened to you in which  the drawing helped you to meet somebody. Louise Joor tells us her adventure on a trip to China ...

It was in 2009, during a trip to China with all my colleagues from the BD section of the St-Luc Institute in Brussels.

We had already had the chance to visit a lot of big cities and I wanted to explore the countryside for a change. Finally, we had landed in the small town of Xitang, very pretty but above all extremely touristy. To give you an idea, a few scenes from "Mission Impossible III" were shot there...

As soon as we would leave the well-maintained touristic streets, we would come across small, gray little neighbourhoods full of rubbish. All the inhabitants of these "normal" streets would always direct us back to the beautiful streets. It was on the floor of one of these little streets that I decided one morning to draw a moped, a basket and a kettle.

A Chinese gentleman came out of a small alley and looked at what I was doing. He stood for a moment watching me draw, impassive and silent, then went back into the alley.

He returned a few minutes later with a folding chair that he placed beside me and then forced me to sit on it. I thanked him as I was surprised and touched by this attention. All my previous contacts with the Chinese had been until then rather abrupt and not very warm to my western eyes. So that kindness was something new to me and it wouldn't have happened without the drawing. He looked pleased and walked back into his alley, still without a smile.

I finished my drawing quietly, well seated (much better than squatting!), and there was no sign of the man.

I was a bit annoyed not willing to leave the chair as is in the middle of teh street. So I started searching the area with the chair under my arm without any idea of ​​where the gentleman came from. After a few meters, I ended up in front of an open door of a house with a lady inside. I showed her the chair and she told me to leave it here, in a rather unfriendly fashion, then shouted to someone I did not see. The man, who responded also shouted , and then a dispute errupted between her and the man, still invisible. A bit embarrassed, I thanked her as well as I could the lady and left.

Not knowing the Chinese habits and customs, I hope I did not create any trouble for this gentleman. However, I have great memories from this encounter!